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Faith Imagined: Christian Inception

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

July 26, 2010

Christian Inception


I watched the movie Inception. The idea of the movie is to delve into the core of the human subconscious (heart) and discover the hidden secrets of the soul. As I watched the movie, I knew that this concept was nothing new. When we are ready, the Holy Spirit invites all of us on a trip to the center of our hearts, but we have to be willing to go.

In the past year, God has taken me on a journey to the deep recesses of my heart. In all honesty, it has not been enjoyable. I discovered that most of my motives and intentions are connected to the root of selfishness. Selfishness is the human condition: it is our default setting—the thorn in our side. I always thought that my intentions were pure; but when I was pressed, the truth squeezed out.

Peter told Jesus He would never leave Him; but when Peter’s life was threatened, he chose selfishness. His pretty intentions were exposed, and he was humbled. God took Peter down to the inner parts of his Spirit, and Peter’s thorn of selfishness was revealed (Matthew 26.75). The thorn of selfishness (pride, flesh, sinfulness) is in all humans; the sooner we are aware of it, the better prepared will be to live with it.

Once I discovered my selfish nature (and got over the shock), I fervently worked towards working in love. However, I soon realized the difficulty of it. I would say something or do something deceitful, prideful or judgmental without meaning to. “Why did I do that?” I would question myself afterward. “I wasn’t intentionally trying to sin.”

What happens is that we automatically work out of selfishness if we are not consciously working out of love. The inception of our sinful nature was conceived by the Enemy and our consumption of it has infiltrated our entire mindset; and when we are not concentrating, we will unconsciously behave selfishly. That is why Paul says,

“So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Romans 7.21-25

That is why we sin without trying to pursue it. As Christians, we have two “inceptions” in our hearts: the corrupted sinful nature we inherited at birth and the perfect spirit nature given to us by Jesus when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. It doesn’t matter how good we appear on the outside, if we do not actively – moment by moment – yoke ourselves to Jesus, we will be yoked to the Enemy, our selfishness and the world.

I asked God why throughout this past year He has taken me on this journey to center of my heart and exposed my sin? Why for the past year has He been exploring and measuring every single facet of my life? God led me to the book of Ezekiel when the Lord measured the temple. I read through all the measurements and quickly became irritated: “Why are you having me read all of these temple measurements?” I asked God.

Finally, God brought me to Ezekiel 44.4: “Then the man brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple. I looked and saw the glory of the LORD filling the temple of the LORD, and I fell facedown.” Only when God has measured every aspect of our temples, can the fullness of His glory rest on us.

Why is that? Why does He have to measure us first before He allows the fullness of His glory to fill us? The answer is what Paul excitedly claims: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12.9.

When God reveals our selfishness through measuring our hearts, we realize that nothing beautiful can come from our lives separated from God. We in and of ourselves are corrupted by sin. However, God will rest His glory on us when we realize that the Glory is His alone. We can boast in our weaknesses because the awareness of them reminds us that all glory and beauty and love come from God. And this understanding will compel us to fervently seek to walk in His love and not in our own selfishness. This is the foundation of humility.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor” (1 Peter 5.6 NLT). Do you want to be a part of God’s glory? Take a good look at your heart, and know that goodness comes from God alone. Humble the sinful nature, so that God’s perfect nature can have complete authority over your life.

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28 Comments:

Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

This post really touches me to my soul. I have been through a journey this past year also. I may blog about this, with a link to you....
kim

3:59 PM  
Blogger Little M said...

Wow Alisa, this is beautiful. Thank you!

5:45 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

I've been examining my motives these past months too, and have not been happy about what I've discovered. As you say, it is only with Him that we can change and move ahead. My prayer is to allow Him to work in and perfect me.
Blessings for your week,
Karen

6:39 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

Alisa, how wonderfully vulnerable of you to share your "journey of the heart." It is hard to look at the inner furnishings of our temple, isn't it? But God is so gracious - He still chooses to bless us with HIS glory!

"How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults...Don't let them control me...May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." (From Psalm 19 - NLT)

9:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

This is powerful. We cannot do anything alone. But through Christ Jesus, anything is possible. This year, I have really started to come into a realization of the irrepressible and undeniable presence of Jesus Christ. I'm on this journey too, I actually made a few notes, and I am grateful for this post! :)

9:46 PM  
Blogger Family, Money and Stuff said...

Whoa! Sing it woman! I love where you write that selfishness is our 'default setting' - that we need to consciously choose to be yoked to Jesus, or we are (by default) yoked to the Enemy. Wow. I can't help but feel a little overwhelmed by the pressure and responsibility of it all ... still working into my heart the 'grace is sufficient for you' part...

10:11 PM  
Blogger MTJ said...

Hi Alisa,

I believe when we ask God for a Spiritual Makeover, we being to discover the depths of what God is doing in our lives. Those discoveries can be humbling particularly when one thinks, I'm all that and then some!

I am discovering the futility of my own motives and efforts as God measures me. At times, I find myself echoing Paul, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

I'm thankful to the Lord for His mercy, love, patience and grace.

Thank you for a really inspired post.

MTJ

10:24 PM  
Blogger Dean Spencer said...

This is something that I find God working out in me too. In our study in Romans, Paul talks about how the Jews look toward their religious work to justify themselves. Essentially they're focusing on the externals.

But what Paul helps explain is that God is looking toward the heart. I believe that if we see inward as God does, there's a lot of that selfishness and other stuff that we need to deal with.

I haven't thought much about selfishness being our default setting, but it makes sense.

Thank you for this great insight!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Braley Mama said...

Right on! Every time I think I am doing so good in my walk, I realize I went wrong some where because I need to be constantly relying on Him! Thanks for this post!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you for sharing your Spirit-led insights. Just recently, I heard a speaker at a music festival talk about this same issue of selfishness, and sin. I've been delving into what that means to me, because I've newly realized in the last few weeks that I have been so selfish without even realizing it. I know I'm forgiven, and I want to act that way.
So again, thanks for your wonderful insights and your post that spells out the good news so clearly.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Karyn said...

I have been wrestling with thinking of these same things of late and am quickly realizing that it HAS to be a moment by moment yoking myself with Him or change in my heart will never happen. Thank you for your honesty and thoughts on not allowing sin to be the status quo in our lives.

4:24 PM  
Blogger May said...

Amen sister....God is my strength, my everything for without him there is no hope. We must take time to listen God. Praise God.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Leah @ Point Ministries said...

I have been on that same journey with the Lord in the past year. He has been exposing and cleansing so many areas of my heart. Pride and selfishness are such stinkers. They can hide in the teeniest places and show up when least expected.

I know that as long as I walk this earth, I will battle pride and selfishness, but I am so thankful for the indwelling presence of the Spirit to help expose them.

Leah

5:57 PM  
Blogger petrii said...

Alisa,
This is something that God has been dealing with me about over the past several months as well, and to say it has been painful, and still is at times, is an understatement. But He is in it all to expose the selfishness in me, and He is helping me to rid myself of it. There is still so much more of it there than I want, but I am a work in progress. He knows exactly what I need and He is my provider.

Thank you for this beautifully written post.

Have a Blessed evening,
Dawn

8:53 PM  
Blogger Tammi said...

Alisa, Oooh..this was sooo good. And to the point. I could easily add an "OUCH" here. But this is a "good ouch!" One that causes growth in my heart! Thank you so much for pointing out God's truths so clearly! The journey to every nook and cranny of your heart that He's taken you has given you wisdom to share with others like me. Oh! Jeremiah says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked...who can know it??" But GOD! I'm so thankful for HIS cleansing power! Thanks, Alisa, for this wonderful post!

9:55 PM  
Blogger Just Be Real said...

Certainly touching and beautiful. Thank you dear for sharing. Blessings.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Like Tammi, I had an "ouch" moment, too when I read this line...

"I always thought that my intentions were pure; but when I was pressed, the truth squeezed out. "...

Isn't that always the way...bloated with myself and what I can do...instead of filled with His Spirit and compassion...

This will stay in my head for a long time, Alisa....

6:40 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

"Humble the sinful nature, so that God’s perfect nature can have complete authority over your life."

Thank you for always being so transparant in your posts. I always gain so much insights from your writings.

9:16 PM  
Blogger A Peculiar Person said...

I would like to invite you to visit my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts on my recent posts.

http://alonganarrowway.com

God Bless!

12:39 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Thanks for sharing. I found the post very true and uplifting.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Thanks for sharing. I found the post very true and uplifting.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

wow, thank you for this post, I am going to definitely do some searching.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Wow!! I really like what you brought out from Ezekiel. I am reading through the whole Bible in 90 days and having been trying to find those teachable moments in the first books of the Bible.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Alisa...this is so amazing as I am going through this same process. It's an 'ugh' yet it's also relief...being free of counterfeit freedom, which is bondage no matter how i tried to slice it or dice it. thank you for writing so powerfully and yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit so that those of us who read it boast in the Lord and declare His awesome Glory! You are lovely, beautiful daughter of the King!

12:13 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Alisa...this is so amazing as I am going through this same process. It's an 'ugh' yet it's also relief...being free of counterfeit freedom, which is bondage no matter how i tried to slice it or dice it. thank you for writing so powerfully and yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit so that those of us who read it boast in the Lord and declare His awesome Glory! You are lovely, beautiful daughter of the King!

12:39 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

It is so easy to slip into a pattern of not listening or examining what we are doing. Thanks for the wake up call.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Missie said...

I am so easily distracted and don't always follow my instructions...but I definately don't want to be a stump!

8:20 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Alisa, this is right in line with what the Lord is teaching me now in my life. I have invited His Spirit to search all of the inner recesses of my heart and reveal any hidden sins. I'm amazed at thte selfishness and pride that I hadn't realized was there. But I so want God to be glorified in my life.

Thank you for this devotional this morning. I've only recently found your site. I downloaded several of your studies and I know they will be so good for me. I appreciate you offering them for free.

Blessings and love,
Debbie

10:55 AM  

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